John Dudley

Unexpected Ultrafast – Extreme Light, the Nobel Prize and 60 Years of Nonlinear Optics.

The award of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics recognized once again the importance of light science and technology, particularly the role of ultrafast lasers in opening new fields of physics and driving important applications.  However, although ultrafast technology is ubiquitous in many areas of daily life, its historical development and science remains largely unknown outside the specialist laser community.  The objective of this talk will be to correct this with a general lecture tracing the exciting history of ultrafast science from the development of the first lasers in the 1960s to some of the latest research today.  Along the way, we will explore the general historical context, the discovery of solitons in the 19th century, some unexpected links with the Manhattan project, and also the key role played by the field of nonlinear optics which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.  Since this talk will be given in the same week as the Nobel Prizes are awarded, some general information from the Nobel Prize archives will also be discussed.

Bio: John Dudley is Professor of Physics at the CNRS Research Institute FEMTO-ST in Besancon, France. His research covers broad areas of optical science and he has published over 500 contributions in journals & conference proceedings and delivered over 120 invited talks at major conferences. He served as the President of the European Physical Society for a two year term from April 2013-March 2015. In 2009, he initiated and Chaired the International Year of Light & Light-based Technologies 2015 and he currently chairs the follow-up International Day of Light. He was awarded the Harold E. Edgerton Award of SPIE for 2019, and the OSA R. W. Wood Prize for 2020, recognizing his contributions to ultrashort pulse measurements, nonlinear fibre optics, and supercontinuum generation. He has won a number of other prizes and distinctions both for his research and his commitment to outreach and public engagement.

Open to all institutions and members of the public. This webinar will be recorded and made available after the event.

Hosted by the Imperial College Optical Society.

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